Office of Financial Aid

Data Retrieval Frequently Asked Questions

One of the new tools to the FAFSA is the ability for financial aid applicants and their families to automatically transfer select family income and tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The online FAFSA will help you through the process, which requires your FSA ID and password and confirmation that you want to transfer your tax data.

Why do we have to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool this year?

The new federal regulation for verfiying FAFSA income information against the IRS database is meant to streamline the FAFSA correction process. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is one method of accomplishing the requirement. The second option is to request a paper Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. In either case, FAFSA reported income will be verified against IRS information.

Why does Scripps College require a copy of our IRS Federal Tax Return and the Data Retrieval Tool? The FAFSA site message states that the tool is designed to eliminate having to send copies of our paper tax returns. I am confused?

Scripps College continues to require a copy of the Federal tax returns because the IRS Data Retrieval Tool only transfers select data fields required for federal financial aid verification and does not provide enough information for us to determine your financial aid eligibility for institutional aid.

What if we choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process?

Choosing not to use the tool requires you to obtain a Federal Tax Transcript from the IRS. Federal Tax Return Transcripts are only available by mail at this time. This may delay learning about your student’s financial aid eligibility for the 2016-17 academic year.

We strongly urge you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. However, we understand there may be circumstances that prevent you from using it and/or you simply do not wish to use it.

I just filed my taxes. When can I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

It takes approximately three weeks, from the time you file your federal tax return before the IRS information is available for you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You should check back on FAFSA correctioins at a later date.

Federal Tax Returns that are electronically filed with the IRS will be available online from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool approximately 3-weeks after filed.

Federal Tax Returns that are mailed to the IRS will be available online from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool approximately 9-11 weeks after filed.

Once current year Federal Income Tax Returns are filed, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the FAFSA. You can log back onto your FAFSA using your FSA ID and password you established during FAFSA completion at www.fafsa.gov. Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Parent Financial Information section.

Am I eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

For 2016-2017, applicants filing an initial or renewal FAFSA application or making a correction are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must have valid SSN
  • Must have filed a 2015 federal tax return
  • Must have unchanged marital status since December 31, 2015

The following list represents those who cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval tool for 2016-2017:

  • Parents who filed their federal tax returns using a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or completed the FAFSA using all zeroes for SSN
  • Any student or parent with a marital status date of January 1, 2016 or later
  • Any student or parent who indicates they have not already filed a tax return or will not file a tax return
  • Any student or parent who is married but file separate federal income tax returns (e.g., married filing separately or head of household)
  • Parents who are unmarried but living together and parents have an informal separation but continue to file a joint federal income tax return (e.g., married filing jointly).
  • Any student or parent who have filed foreign income tax returns instead of or in addition to a U.S. federal income tax return

What happens if I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and then go back into FAFSA corrections and change the information?

If you successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and subsequently change FAFSA data, you will need to either use the Data Retrieval Tool again, and NOT change the information from the IRS, or provide us with a Tax Transcript.

Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I file a tax return outside the U.S.?

If you did not file a Federal IRS tax return, you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool because there is no information on file with the IRS for you to view and transfer.
If you filed both a Federal IRS tax return and a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return, you will only be able to view and transfer your Federal IRS tax return information if you link to the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. Therefore, your IRS tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I am married and filed federal taxes separately from my spouse?

If you are married and filed federal taxes separately from your spouse, you will only be able to view and transfer your own federal tax return information if you link to the IRS Web site. Therefore, your IRS federal tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

Why can’t I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if I filed an amended tax return?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows users to link to the IRS Web site and securely transfer original IRS federal tax return information into their FAFSA, but not amended tax return information. Therefore, your IRS tax return information may not completely reflect what you need to report on the FAFSA.

What happens if I haven’t filed my current year taxes yet?

Even if you have not completed your current year Federal Tax Returns, you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates.

What happens if I am selected for verification and do not use or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If you did not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer Federal Tax Return information to your FAFSA, you will need to obtain an official Federal Income Tax Transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office. If you are a dependent student, we will also need a copy of your parent Federal Income Tax Transcripts. Please visit the IRS website at www.IRS.gov or contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-908-9946 to obtain a Federal Income Tax Transcript(s).

What happens if I file an amended tax return changing the information I originally submitted to the IRS?

You cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer amended IRS Federal Tax Return information to your FAFSA. Therefore, you will need to obtain an official Federal IRS Income Tax Transcript and an official Federal IRS Tax Account Transcript from the IRS and submit updated tax information to our office. If you are a dependent student, we will also need a copy of your parent’s Federal Income Tax Transcripts if any updates or amendments were made.
Please visit the IRS website at www.IRS.gov or contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-908-9946 to obtain
Federal Income Tax Transcript(s).

  • Amended Federal Tax Returns that are electronically filed with the IRS will be available to request from the IRS approximately 3 weeks after filed.
  • Amended Federal Tax Returns that are mailed to the IRS will be available to request from the IRS approximately 9-11 weeks after filed.

I did my IRS Data Retrieval on FAFSA Corrections, but it shows I am still missing the IRS Data Retrieval document on My Financial Aid portal still?

One possibility is that when you did the FAFSA Corrections, and saved the results from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, after the data was imported, you did not navigate to the last page of the FAFSA and click on “submit” again. In order for your IRS data to be recorded by the FAFSA it is important for you to click on the “Submit” button on the FAFSA.

When I try to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, I cannot locate my IRS federal tax return information. What am I doing incorrectly?

  • The person requesting the IRS Data Retrieval must be the first person listed on the Federal Tax Return. For example, if you are the second person listed on the Federal Tax Return, you may not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. To solve the problem, please have the first person listed, complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and/or request an IRS Paper Transcript.
  • The information you enter into the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is case-sensitive. Also, the information you enter must match exactly to how it is listed on your IRS Federal Tax Return. Some issues reported have to do with exact wording. For example, if you listed Road on the IRS Federal Tax Return, but are entering “Rd” on the IRS Data Retrieval tool, it will not allow you to continue. Other issues reported have to do with the use of hyphens and spaces which may also potentially cause a mismatch. The IRS Data Retrieval tool requires an exact match on the address. If you prefer, you may order a Paper Transcript instead.

The Data Retrieval document listed on My Financial Aid portal was a successful match and then it changed back to a status of “missing.” What happened?

Each time a student/parent makes changes to FAFSA Federal Tax Return information, it causes the record to go from a “Successful” IRS Data Retrieval match to an “Unsuccessful” status requiring further follow up.

Can I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool more than once?

Yes, you may use it to transfer your IRS data more than once.

I used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, but Scripps submitted corrections to my FAFSA. Why did this happen?

This was most likely the result of Scripps College doing a “professional judgment” change to your FAFSA to reflect your special circumstances. It is critical that you do not overwrite our changes by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool again. Our changes must remain on your FAFSA Corrections in order for us to award you federal aid. When this occurs, Scripps College will notify you via email.

How will Scripps College be notified that I have successfully used the Data Retrieval Tool?

Scripps College will receive an electronic notification showing a successful match. Once this occurs, the Parent IRS Data Retrieval (DRT) and/or Student IRS Data Retrieval (DRT) on the MyFinanicalAid portal will show a status of “Received.”